Okay folks, think about this for a moment. She sent her kids to the mall alone. Not the mall in a ‘big’ city like Milwaukee or Madison or Chicago, with rampant gang activity and high murder rates, but in a ‘big’ city like Bozeman, Montana, where apparently it qualifies as being a dangerous community because there was one murder there last year.
Folks? My home town of under 30,000 has a higher murder rate than that. Largely because we too had a murder here last year, and I *think* Bozeman has more than 30,000 people.
Now, I’ve heard from a lot of folks on this type of subject talking about how they weren’t raised in a bubble like that. And I’ve heard a lot of other people counter that, usually with a snarl, that the world’s become a more dangerous place since then.
Well, I was growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. And I wasn’t raised in a bubble like that! I’ve never been molested, abused, or murdered! Yes, believe it or not, I am not one of the living dead, typing from the grave, DESPITE the fact that my mother routinely would let my brother and I go to the playground with nothing more than the supervision of young teenagers! I’ve even played outside with friends with no adult supervision… and I’m still one of the (seemingly rare, to listen to the media) people out there who hasn’t been sexually assaulted!
Let’s look at the facts for a moment. You’re more likely to be molested or murdered by your FAMILY than you are by a stranger – simple fact. Every police officer knows that. It’s been that way for centuries. It’s 99% of the reason that people are still convinced the Ramseys murdered JonBenet. Why? Well, for one thing, family’s got more opportunities. For another, they’re the ones who spend years living with you – you rarely develop enough dislike for somebody to murder them over the course of a chance meeting.
By statistics, you’re doing more to endanger children by making their parents spend time with them than you are by letting them go out on their own. Think about that one for a minute, I’m serious. If you wanted to do the best thing to keep children from being molested or killed before they can defend themselves, you would take them away from their parents and have them raised by a constantly shifting group of random, background-checked strangers, none of whom are allowed to be with the children unsupervised, or for more than 10 minutes. That would probably reduce the abuse rates far more than keeping children from going off on their own.
It would also result in raising a generation of non-socialized introverts who have no concept of how to deal with actual relationships, but hey! Won’t somebody think of the children?
As I said, I wasn’t raised in a bubble (though I came closer to it than many of my peers). I went outside on my own. I played with my friends without adults hovering over us in case some scary monster came out of nowhere and made off with one of us. I was left alone for a whole day at a time with non-related individuals who were charged with taking care of me.
I suffered more abuse in school while being supervised by adults than I ever did outside of it while I wasn’t (what can I say? There are bullies, normal people, and victims of bullies, I was the third.)
We’re raising a generation of paranoid neurotics, folks. People who have been raised to view the world as a dark and scary place, filled with individuals who want nothing more than to hurt them in the most heinous methods possible. And who have been raised to view themselves as incapable of taking care of themselves. That’s a very, very dangerous combination – you take somebody who’s paranoid and neurotic and who feels they *can’t* defend themselves, and often as not they decide that they *have* to defend themselves. When you read the profiles, a lot of people who do very, very bad things do so because they feel it necessary in order to create some sort of order in a world they couldn’t control. In order to protect their insecure selves, they create security by creating corpses. After all, they might reason, the dead can’t hurt them.
Even if they don’t go spree killer, what sort of life is it, constantly walking around in the fear that you’re going to be attacked and can’t do anything about it? I can tell you that one. It’s the same exact life I led while I was being bullied. I would rush home from school, fearing being set upon by older kids. I would hide during recess sometimes, because I knew that if I didn’t I’d end up being the victim of a beating that nobody *would* do anything about unless they saw it happen (and then they’d just stop it, or punish both of us, since ‘it takes two to fight.’)
How did I get past it?
I learned to protect myself. I learned to take care of myself. And that’s how I learned to live without being afraid. Sure, I sometimes walk with a stick. I do so as much for self-defense as I do for style and/or support. But I do so confident in my ability to protect myself.
If you take away people’s confidence in that ability, you take away their ability to *live*. And that’s not worth any measure of additional safety.